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First black woman chosen as superintendent of NOLA public schools

Dr. Avis Williams
Dr. Avis Williams(NOLA Public Schools)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 2:41 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans Public Schools now has a new superintendent and the choice is a historic one.

Dr. Avis Williams will be the first black woman to serve as superintendent and the first woman to permanently serve the position in the city. She was unanimously voted by the school board to lead the district.

Williams was one of 50 candidates overall and one of 15 interviewed by the board. She will now enter into contract negotiations with the board.

Williams was previously the superintendent of Selma City Schools in Alabama. In Selma, schools during her tenure increased their State Report Card score by 8 points, from 68 to 76, and one letter grade. Graduation rates also increased by 6percent, reading scores by 6 percent, and math by 8 percent.

Dr. Williams started her professional career serving as a sergeant in the United States Army before becoming a teacher and physical education coach in Huntsville, Ala.; an English teacher and assistant principal in Salisbury, N.C.; a principal in Huntsville, an adjunct education college professor in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and the Executive Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction in Greensboro, N.C. These roles have afforded Dr. Williams the unique privilege of serving as an elementary, middle, and high school principal, as well as a college professor – giving her a full perspective of what it takes to lead at all levels.

“This is an historic moment for our school system and for our city, and the board is excited to extend the superintendency to Dr. Avis Williams. As the 1st African American woman appointed to lead our District in its more than 180 year history, her breadth of experience as a sergeant in U.S. Army, a teacher, principal, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent will help take our students’ education to the next level,” said OPSB President Olin Parker. “Dr. Williams is committed to working with our schools to increase academic achievement, expand access to mental health services for students, and engage deeply with all community members. I am certain of her commitment to ensuring that our graduation rates continue to rise and the doors of success continue to open for our scholars through college, well-paying jobs, and beyond.”

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